Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

half a dragon

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Publication date: October 1, 2019

Eesh. This was not what I expected.

With The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the simplified writing fits perfectly with the character and the plot. With Imaginary Friend it didn’t feel that way. This was written like a first novel and not a very good one. I DNF’ed at 22%.

The perspectives were all off, just jumping between characters with no explanation. One second we’re learning about Christopher’s day and the next we’re inside his mom’s head then we’re looking through the eyes of the sheriff. It was odd and chaotic most of the time.

It felt like it was written twenty years ago. I mean, the mom completely ignores that her son is dyslexic and keeps telling him to try harder to fix himself. The boy has a learning disability and she’s just like “keep trying one day you’ll magically get it.” This is a seriously harmful viewpoint and I’m just glad this is marketed for adults because I don’t want a dyslexic child to be reading this or listening to it as an audiobook and feel like he/she will only succeed if his/her dyslexia magically goes away.

The story itself was super boring. It starts out really intriguing with a missing child and a worried parent. The suspense has physical force. I even showed some sections to my husband because I was so entertained and then… I got page after page of how to build a friggin’ treehouse including where the supplies would come from, who would draw the blueprint, how they would sneak away, where exactly it would be built. It just went on and on and that was before they even started actually building it. Also, these kids are supposed to be seven years old. They are not hauling two by fours up and down a tree, hammering them in, and creating an entire structure for days at a time with just Oreo’s for fuel. I’m sorry I call BS.

**Spoiler alert**

Apparently the “nice man” is the devil, the hissing scary lady is Eve, and sweet little Mary Katherine is the Virgin Mary (who is totally pregnant again without doing the deed). Wait… what? I’m sorry I didn’t sign up for a Christian allegory about how the devil is whispering mean things into our ears and soon we’ll all go crazy and it’ll be all the devil’s fault. What happened to Free Will? Oh and apparently God only welcomes Eve back into his loving, but apparently very grudging, arms at the end of the book. So she’s been in worldly purgatory since basically the beginning of time for one mistake. Great parenting. I don’t know if this is a reflection of Chbosky’s views on Christianity or… idk.

**End of spoiler alert**

All of these things might have been acceptable if the book was short or even reasonably normal in length. Instead it was 700 pages of poorly written non explanations. Many people have compared it to Stephen King’s writing and I agree, but I also hate King’s writing.

As always, it is your choice to read or not, but my vote is not to waste your time with Imaginary Friend. It needs a lot more TLC before any eyes should view it.

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